New research report sheds light on the prevalence of family and domestic violence in partnered relationship breakdowns

Jun 19, 2024 | Blog

Relationships Australia has just released a new report as part of our Relationship Indicators project, delving into the ongoing effects of partnered relationship breakdown on mental health, wellbeing, and people’s future outlook. The findings reveal that nearly one in three Australians have experienced a break-up, separation, or divorce that continues to impact their lives today. Concerningly, 1 in 8 mentioned this period was characterised by violence, abuse or controlling behaviour.

This report provides additional evidence for the need for services like ours, responding to relationship breakdown, to be well equipped and resourced to address domestic and family violence. Relationship breakdown is a complex experience and the artificial funding separation of specialist domestic and family violence services, from services such as mediation, does not reflect the lived experience of our clients.

This is further reflected in the disproportionate impact of relationship breakdown on certain groups, including women, people with disabilities or long-term health conditions, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Those who reported lasting effects from a relationship breakdown experienced reduced wellbeing, increased loneliness, and more pressures in their subsequent relationships.

The report sheds light on the complex challenges faced by individuals navigating the aftermath of a relationship breakdown. Emotional and mental health issues, practical and financial struggles, and interpersonal difficulties were among the most commonly reported struggles. Trust issues and concerns about children’s wellbeing also emerged as significant themes.

While the majority of respondents faced difficulties, the report also reveals that relationship dissolution can lead to personal growth and positive outcomes for many. They cited newfound freedom, independence, self-discovery, and the opportunity to escape unhealthy dynamics as silver linings in their experiences.

Relationships Australia emphasises the importance of comprehensive support services to help individuals cope with the profound disruptions caused by relationship breakdown. The report offers recommendations for increasing access to relationship counselling, addressing the impacts on children, and tailoring support for vulnerable groups.

As a leading provider of relationship support services, Relationships Australia remains committed to helping Australians navigate the challenges of relationship breakdown and build resilience in the face of adversity. This report serves as a call to action, highlighting the need for greater awareness, empathy, and resources to support those affected by this common life event. Particularly, we recommend increasing access to services to respond to intimate partner violence. Additionally, governments must ensure suitable perpetrator intervention programs are available nationally, to ensure services have effective interventions to refer to.

To learn more about the findings and recommendations from this important study read the full report on the ongoing effects of partnered relationship breakdown.